A different place. But not.

We were living south of where we are now, and my office was upstairs. I was puttering around, surfing through the morning on a Tuesday, working on my second cup of coffee, but still not fully present. B. called up to me from downstairs, watching morning news programming and doing her own wake-up routine, to tell me a plane had flown into a building in New York.

I remember calling back to her with the profound comment of, “What?!”

In my head, some dumbass in a Cessna had probably decided to make his personal sendoff a look-at-me, aren’t-I-special Viking funeral. It turned out I was 2/3rds right, or a fractional version of that if you want to nitpick the Viking part.

The Intertubes, not being what they are today, hadn’t yet beaten television to the punch, and a quick news-check had nothing online. So, you’ve got to see what’s happening, right?

I made it downstairs a couple of minutes after B. alerted me, and the first thing I thought when I saw the images was, “Hmm. That’s bigger than a Cessna.” The thought registered with me just in time to see— and hear, oh my God, hear— the second strike, live, in Technicolor, and delivered with Bose surround sound.

My Pop called about twenty minutes later to tell me he loved us. The world had changed.

Twenty years of change has happened, since, and there’s no taking any of it back. Some of it worked out; a lot of it didn’t, and some of it I wish we could do over.

But first and foremost among the stuff I wish had never happened is hearing B. call up to me early that morning. That was terrible, even though I didn’t know it at the time.
But that’s where I was. Twenty years later, I’m in a different place. We all are.

But we’re not. And we’ll never forget.

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